By Jonathan Libby, DNP, CPNP
With winter as a way of life here in Maine, parents have to find ways to entertain their children during the long 6 months of a New England Winter. Children who live in this environment still need to get outdoors and enjoy what our beautiful state can provide. This experience has its inherited risks, namely the cold. Temperatures frequently drop to freezing and below. Add on a wind chill factor and the temperatures can become dangerous. Children frequently don’t pay attention to their bodies until it may be too late. How many children in the summer want to keep swimming despite shivering, the rattling teeth and their blue skin? Same thing happens in the winter with lost gloves, wet clothing, boots full of snow and socks curled up into the toe of the boot. Frostbite can happen to anyone, but especially children who don’t pay attention.
The most common places for frost bite are the hands, feet, nose, ears and cheeks. The symptoms of frostbite are patches of hard white skin, which can be painful, burn, tingle and or feel numb. There can also be blistering.
Frostbite is considered a medical emergency. Evaluation in an Emergency Department is always recommended, but some steps can be taken at home. Rapid rewarming is recommended in a warm tub (104-108 degrees) for 20-40 minutes is the most common method. This method is not recommended if re-exposure to the elements is immediately expected as this leads to increase in skin destruction. Removal of all wet clothing replaced with warm dry clothes. Be careful NOT to rub or massage the area as this will cause further damage to the skin. Pain medications may be needed as the rewarming process can be very painful. Frostbite can take up to 3 months to full recover. Consultation with your pediatrician is always recommended in case further skin care is needed.
Jonathan Libby, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC is one of the providers in the new CCS Pediatrics practice located at 100 Campus Ave. in Lewiston.
Jonathan has dedicated nearly 20 years of his professional medical career to treating pediatric patients in a primary care setting. He earned his Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and received his Masters in Nursing and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Bachelor degrees from the University of Texas in Galveston.
Jonathan is board certified in primary care pediatrics. He is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Pracitioners and is a clinical preceptor with University of Southern Maine for their Family Nurse Practitioner program.
CCS Pediatrics can care for your child’s needs from birth to age 18. Call us now at 207-755-3160. Same day appointments are available!